2003 – 2004 Meetings

Date: September 18, 2003
Title: The Mapmaker’s Quest
Speaker: David Buisseret, Virginia Garrett Professor of the History of Cartography, University of Texas – Arlington
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

Please join us for a special program in which we welcome back David Buisseret, former director of the Newberry’s Smith Center for the History of Cartography. Dr. Buisseret will lecture on the subject of his new book, The Mapmaker’s Quest, which considers one of the most important problems in the history of mapmaking: “Why was it that there were so few maps in Europe in 1400, and yet so many by 1650?” David will be available to sign copies of his book after his talk.

Date: October 23, 2003
Title: Did Maps Really Matter to Elizabeth I?
Speaker: Peter Barber, British Library
Location: Ruggles Hall, The Newberry Library

Maps played a number of important roles in Elizabethan England and some decision-makers were passionate about them. Leading, scholars, soldiers, and administrators patronized mapmakers and even created maps. But what about the Queen herself? Elizabeth was frequently portrayed in the vicinity of maps and globes. But was she genuinely interested or was it what today would be called “spin?” And should she, for her own sake, have been more interested?

This program was made possible in part by The Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois General Assembly, with additional support from the Chicago Map Society.

Date: November 13, 2003
Title: Learning Geography in the Renaissance: Dati’s La Spera
Speaker: Ray Clemens, Illinois State University
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

Ray Clemens, currently a Mellon Fellow at the Newberry Library, will discuss his work on Gregorio Dati’s Sfera, a geographical textbook designed for the merchant class in Renaissance Florence. The Sfera, which survives in over 200 manuscripts, including a richly illuminated one at the Newberry, is filled with astronomical diagrams and beautiful portolan charts that Dati pressed into service to give his readers a sense of the Mediterranean world that lay beyond Florence and its mercantile empire. His talk will explore the various sources that Dati employed and what the Sfera tells us about Florence’s desire to know about the world around it.

Date: December 11, 2003
Title: Holiday Party and Member’s Show and Tell
Speakers: Members of the Chicago Map Society
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

We are reviving this tradition in which members are invited to bring a map from their collections to share with the group. Maps are collected for artistic qualities, printing techniques, as a memento of a trip, as investments, and many other reasons. What is often most enjoyable about an item is hearing the story of how it was acquired by its present owner.

Date: January 15, 2004
Title: A Ribbon Map for the Father of Waters: Celebrating the Mississippi River in 1866
Speaker: Jerry Danzer, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Illinois at Chicago
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

“Ribbon” maps, like the strip maps sometimes used to show roads, are all about a route: in this case, distances along a river and the landmarks on the water and on the banks. Some 19th century ribbon maps were actually mounted on rollers and advanced with a crank, the map gradually unfolding within a glass window. A long-time CMS member, Prof. Danzer will discuss this genre, using a particular map to help us understand the role of maps and the function of rivers in mid-nineteenth century America. A rare ribbon map will be presented for the Newberry Library’s collections on this evening.

Date: February 19, 2004
Title: Mercator’s 1569 World Map: How was it Made?
Speaker: Robert Karrow, Curator of maps, The Newberry Library
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

Date: March 18, 2004
Title: The Men Behind the Maps: American Surveyors
Speaker: Lisa Jacobs, Executive Director, Museum of Surveying, Lansing, Mich.
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

Three of the four presidents on Mt. Rushmore were surveyors—can you name them? Most surveyors, though, were more anonymous, and Lisa Jacobs, director and curator of the only museum in North America devoted to this most American profession, is in a unique position to tell us about them. Her illustrated talk will address some of the men who measured and parceled out our national domain and some of the instruments and techniques they used to map the foundations of American society.

Date: April 15, 2004
Title: Marking the Route: Maps, Guide Books, and Automobile Touring in Early 20th Century America
Speaker: Robert Buerglener, PhD Candidate, Department of History, University of Chicago
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

Today we take maps and well-marked highways for granted, but how did drivers find their way in the earliest days of automobile use? This talk analyzes some of the options, including guide books, maps, and a few now-forgotten navigation devices. Together they reveal how drivers learned new ways to imagine the landscape, space, and society in the Progressive Era.

Date: May 20, 2004
Title: Mapping the Goddess of Love as She Transits the Face of the Sun
Speaker: Anna Friedman, Adler Planetarium
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

A transit of Venus—a rare astronomical event that has been viewed only five times (1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, and 1892) in the modern era—will occur on June 8th. Historically, transits were observed to attempt to calculate the distance between the Earth and the Sun; today they are considered curiosities. The Adler Planetarium’s curator of celestial cartography will preview an exhibition on the subject that she is developing for the Adler, illustrated with images of maps from the Adler’s Collections.

Date: June 17, 2004
Title: “Right Rudder, ten degrees”: The Maps and Charts of Charles A. Lindbergh
Speaker: Ralph Ehrenberg
Location: Towner Fellows’ Lounge, The Newberry Library

Fasten your seat belts for a fascinating survey of the maps and charts used by pioneer aviator Charles A. Lindbergh. An icon of American aviation, Lindberg’s epic non-stop flight from New York to Paris in the “Spirit of St. Louis” seventy-seven years ago is but one of his contributions. From the Roaring Twenties to World War II, Lindbergh was as a barnstormer, flight instructor, commercial flier, airmail pilot, Army aviator, and aerial pathfinder. He promoted aviation through numerous cross-country and international tours, plotted airway routes, and flew combat missions in the Pacific. Drawing on the Lindbergh map collections at the American Geographical Society Collection of the Golda Meir Library, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the Missouri Historical Society, and related materials at the U. S. National Archives and the Library of Congress, Ralph Ehrenberg will present an illustrated-slide lecture on the various maps and charts that guided Lindbergh from airfield to airfield.

Ralph Ehrenberg is a consultant and lecturer on the history of cartography. He was assistant chief and chief of the Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (1979-1998) and Director of the Center for Cartographic and Architectural Archives, U. S. National Archives and Records Administration (1973-1979). He is the author of The Mapping of America (with Seymour Schwartz) (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1980, 2001); Library of Congress Geography and Maps: An Illustrated Guide (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1996); Scholars’ Guide to Washington, D.C. for Cartography and Remote Sensing Imagery (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1987); and Archives and Manuscripts: Maps and Architectural Drawings (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 1982). He is currently writing a book on aviation cartography.